CAP Money Course Grows Financial LiteracyOthers, Finances
Contributed by: Christians Against Poverty
There are moments in life where opportunities show up, knocking on your doorstep, that are too intriguing to pass over. For Aravind Sithamparapillai, that moment came when Christians Against Poverty Canada (CAP) sent a representative to his church to share about the organization.
It quickly became clear that this opportunity was more than just a random encounter. Aravind was near completion of his MBA at McMaster University in 2015, and was considering where his efforts, energy, and passions could be best used. His work in marketing was solid, yet Aravind wanted to find an avenue to make an impact.
Aravind will tell you he has always had a heart for the poor, but never quite knew how his skills and expertise from the business world could translate into helping others step out of poverty. Aravind has a passion for helping others learn financial literacy and budgeting skills he has found so valuable for himself and his family. And it was right after he began having conversations with friends and mentors about this passion that CAP came visiting at his church.
Keen to learn more, Aravind researched everything he could find about CAP — looking at the organization’s financial history, core values, and organizational structure. If he was going to support CAP, they had to first pass his rigorous questions and research.
So, Aravind decided to experience the CAP Money course for himself. What he found was a group of normal people, talking about normal things. “Everyone’s got rent to pay, or bills that need attention, so there’s no awkwardness or pressure for people to share specific figures or amounts they spend,” Aravind notes. The setting allows for participants to gain valuable skills like managing a budget, and making sure it stays balanced.
“Money can be an awkward thing to talk about, and there’s lots of fear around it,” says Aravind, “but this course helps take the emotion out of it and gives people the skills they need to make money less scary.” But none of this would be possible without CAP Money coaches.
“I’m not a psychologist,” says Aravind over coffee. “I’ve always been a numbers and finance guy, so when CAP showed up talking about helping people manage their debt and live more financially stable lives, it felt like a step in the right direction.” Today he is a debt coach, trainer of debt coaches, and a committed supporter of the CAP team.
For those who are interested in becoming a coach themselves, Aravind has some sage advice. “Coaches are meant to facilitate the material CAP has already built, and encourage participants as they apply what they’re learning to their lives.” When people have a nonjudgmental place to talk about money, and gain the necessary skills, great things can happen. “Find a course in your community and take it,” says Aravind. “I’ve learned about myself too, how easy it is to let a scarcity mentality creep in.”
Whether you are interested in becoming a coach yourself or learning valuable financial skills, you can find a list [HERE] of upcoming CAP Money courses taking place in your community. Don’t see your neighbourhood listed? Contact the CAP Head Office at 289-684-9181 to learn how your church can become a host for the next CAP Money course.
“This is an opportunity to be a leader in your community and help people talk about something they are afraid of,” says Aravind. Interested in learning about CAP and all it does in Canada? Visit capcanada.org for more information.
Written by Eric Strom, Ending Poverty Together Ambassador